Monday, 20 July 2009

(Almost) ready to go!

Less than 24 hours left in our little house on the prairie and we are almost ready for the off. Macy has tried out her air kennel for size (see left) and Blackie..? She is settling in well with her new family, my replacement Dave and his wife Karyn. I moved her over on Friday, and they let her out for the first time today and she returned to her new home (and not ours!) without a hitch.

After weeks of agonising over her fate, I knew as soon as I took her on the 2 minute drive to her house, that her very temporary bewilderment was better than the stress that 48 hours traveling would have been for her.

Dave & Karyn are likely to live in Ralston for four or five years, so she won't be going anywhere now for a while.

In the meantime, I know that Cyprus has a huge amount of cats needing permanent or foster homes, so I'm sure one of those will be keeping Macy company soon.

I am still undecided over the name of the new blog, but details will follow I promise.... in the meantime there are cupboards to clean, bags to pack and food to redistribute. We fly from Medicine Hat to Calgary tomorrow, onto the UK on Wednesday and arrive in Cyprus on Monday August 3rd.... Hope you will join us on our next adventure!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Last weekend away

Our last few weeks are slipping by frighteningly quickly and I can't believe that we've just come back from our last weekend in the Rockies, but what a great place to have spent it...

Despite the daunting 10 hour round trip, we decided to head back to Nipika near Radium Hot Springs for one last weekend. We rented the cabin with our friend MaryAnne, her daughter Ophelia and a friend of theirs who was visiting for the UK.

We first went to Nipika in October when the weather was quite chilly, we meant to come back when the snow was on the ground (quite a large window of opportunity!) and failed, but did at least manage to see it in the summer, and the were really lucky with the weather, it was warm enough to have a dip in the lake and sunbathe on the floating platform.

As ever, our dog Macy and MaryAnne's dog Reggie had a fantastic time. Let off the lead from the moment they arrived to run free in the meadow chasing gophers and paddling in the lake with the two resident dogs Rufus and Murphy. They were both exhausted by the evening, which was handy when it came to getting them clean! (see above right!)

Despite driving through the heart of the Rockies and staying in the middle of a forest, we still failed to see any bears, which was sadly my last opportunity to do so! Two years searching for them and despite my best efforts the closest I got was a sanctuary in Oregon. We did however see a moose, which are far less common!

On our 5 hour journey home, we broke up the trip by stopping at Lake Louise and the Banff Gondola.

I had never managed to visit either in the summer when the colour is so fantastic, so it was another last minute tick in the box. However, both were absolutely heaving with tourists, so we nipped in, took photos and nipped out again - not quite the same as the tranquil isolated Nipika!

So back to Ralston and lots of packing and paperwork awaits us. I will try to update this blog one last time before we leave Canada in just over a week and then we will be moving on to Cyprus and a new blog, details of that to come!

In the meantime, more photos of our last weekend away here

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Counting down

The last week since we returned from our holiday has flown by. It was actually quite odd to be back in some respects. We had after all had everything shipped just before we left, so I think mentally we felt we'd gone for good!

The weather has been a little crazy since we got back. More thunderstorms than in the whole of the two years since we arrived! One morning we woke up to a really warm day and huge hail stones outside and we even had a tornado warning last night! Still as you can see, the prairie looks very good on all the rain! (left)

This week we have begun selling off our possessions in earnest, so much, from cars to electricals must go and I feel terribly sentimental about parting with things. We came here two weeks after we got married and bought all of this for our first home and now, as we always knew they would, circumstances mean we must move on. I keep telling myself that its all just "stuff", but its still very sad.

This morning we had our "pre-march out". This incredibly military sounding event is an early visit from the housing officer, where it is determined whether your quarter is in a suitable state to be handed back. The rules at some bases are stricter than others. In Germany there were even limits to the number of picture hooks you could have in a room and when I left they wanted the drains cleaned and the patio pressure washed! Here they aren't fussed about holes in the wall and just want things wiped down.... Good news!

As we count down, next week Jim and I have our "mug out", another militarism! It is basically a post-work drinks held in the mess for our peers to have a drink in our honour... Jim and I are unique in BATUS being the only couple (I think) who are both mess members in their own right, but it doesn't mean we get special treatment!

And we're off for good two weeks today. We fly from Medicine Hat to Calgary on Tuesday 21st, overnight in Calgary (I might FINALLY get up the tower!) and fly on to the UK on Wednesday 22nd. Ten days break in the UK and on to Cyprus arriving in the hottest month of the year... h'mmm....